Driving with Google Glass

“ok glass, get directions”

When I first put on Glass, as I believe is the same for everyone, I took a picture. Taking photos is a very natural use of Google Glass; the camera is in your face, so taking a photo immediately comes to mind. For me, the second thing I asked my Glass was for directions. I was really curious about the Navigation interface, but my first impression was that the interface is negligible. The Google Maps Voice told me every turn I needed to make and the display, while rarely active, was magically there when I needed it and gone when I didn’t. My first real use of Glass, after the most basic “ok glass, take a picture,” was “ok glass, get directions Home.” And in fact the entire drive home, I was amazed at how easy it was to drive with Glass.

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about driving with Glass and whether it is or should be illegal. Take a look at these photos and let me know your opinion in the comments:

Driving Without Glass
Driving With Glass

Glass Explorer Cecilia Abadie recently fought back against a ticket that was issued to her for wearing Glass while driving and she won! She was pulled over originally for speeding, but was later assessed a ticket for “driving with a monitor visible.” Now, even though Glass could potentially display video or other content, it is not ideal due to battery life and usability and Cecilia stood by her claim that she was not actively using her Glass while she was driving. Glass can supply audio notifications (which are totally legal) without needing the screen to ever activate. And if Glass were being used for Navigation, wouldn’t that be legal?

Check out the press conference through Cecilia’s Glass:

I hope we can overcome our fear of driving with Glass and see the amazing possibilities the device can bring. Another Explorer, Det Ansin has been developing an application that connects his Glass to his car through Bluetooth. The added information he receives can surely make him a better, more responsive driver. Take a look at the his YouTube video showcasing his Glassware:

Another team of Glass Explorers, Jake Steinerman, Victor Kaiser-Pendergrast, Ryan Spletzer, and designer Jeremy Avery, have developed an app called DriveSafe for Glass. This app uses the Glass sensors to warn drivers when they fall asleep and their head dips. It then provides directions to the nearest rest stop so that the driver can rest until they’re ready to continue on their journey. Surely Glass is valuable while driving when applications like these are available.


My opinion hasn’t changed throughout my entire experience as a Glass Explorer. I feel very strongly that not only is it safe to drive with Glass, but it’s safer than driving without.

Are you a Glass Explorer with a jealous friend? Maybe you can make them happy with an invite.

The next phase of Google Glass’ plans for expansion prior to 2014’s consumer release came via email today. Ryan Mott got a gmail letting him know he could invite a friend to the Glass Explorer program. There are several caveats to that invite, the person must pick up in NYC, LA or SF be a US resident over 18 and have the requisite $1500 +tax to get their own Google Glass.

Hey everyone, just to clarify – this is an experiment we’re trying. It’s independent of #ifihadglass (although some #ifihadglass Explorers may receive this email). – Sarah Price

Who will you invite to the program if you get an invite? There have been ebay postings about selling #ifihadglass units in the past though Google was usually quick to put a stop to them, will they also try to squash folks trying to recoup their Glass expenses by auctioning off their invite slot?

Invite your friend to the Glass Explorer Program

Invite your friend to the Glass Explorer Program

Google Glass XE6 Update Rolling Out, Brings Major Photo Improvements and more

Congrats Glass Explorers, your latest monthly update is beginning to roll out. The current OTA update is version XE6, to replace last month’s update XE5. The latest update heavily focuses on drastically improving photo quality. Glass needs to be plugged in to begin the update process, so plug your Glass into your computer or your charger to get started.

Unofficial Changelog for XE6

  • Better photos through Glass
  • Voice annotate captions to photos and videos when sharing
  • Low light detection and HDR with adequate brightness
  • Off Head notification sound changed
  • Improvements to off head detection
  • Shut down notification sound changed
  • Improved Google Now cards for Sports
  • New card for Birthdays
  • Several fixes to resolve existing issues

So, how about those photos improvement? The new camera software for Glass takes multiple photos in rapid sequence every time you use the camera. The images are then combined, bringing you the best quality picture possible. This allows for you to take HDR photos when there is ample light and take much better photos when there isn’t much light available. Don’t take my word for it. Check out a few examples below.

Google Glass XE5 OTA Update and System Dump Download

Yesterday, Google began rolling out the first OTA (over the air) update for the Glass Explorer Edition, dubbed XE5. (Glass shipped running XE4.) This shouldn’t be surprising at all. Google has said from the beginning that Glass would receive monthly updates, during the Explorer program while they continually improve the Glass experience.  Seeing as Glass is pretty battery conscious, to get started, you’ll have to plug your Glass into your computer or your charger to begin the update process.

Note: If you’re using Head-On detection or Winky, the application that let’s you wink to take a photo, you’ll need to re-calibrate each of these after you apply the update.


What’s new in the Glass XE5 OTA Update?

  • Change to sync policy: require power + wifi for background uploads
  • Crash reporting
  • Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
  • Incoming Hangout notifications
  • Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
  • Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
  • International number dialing + SMS
  • Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
  • New On-Head Detection calibration flow
  • Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
  • More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
  • New recipient-list mosaic

If you’re big into Google+ (why aren’t you?), you’ll love this update as it adds much needed Google+ integration for notifications and Hangouts. As you can see below, the page corner is turned up because Jake replied, making this a conversation which can be viewed on Glass.


If you aren’t lucky enough to have received Glass yet, there’s still a way to tinker and look under the hood thanks to system dumps. We’ve been lucky enough to have a private system dump of the XE4 edition of Glass for a a while now and it’s proved to be a lot of fun. The guys over at Android Police have posted the updated XE5 version for your downloading pleasure. If you like to tinker with Android, we suggest you take a look.


Have you noticed any other changes with Glass XE5? Let us know.